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High-temperature nickel superalloy to improve efficiency of coal-fired power plants

February 14, 2019
Source: ASM International

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, in partnership with Energy Industries of Ohio Inc., is set to scale up the fabrication of components made from advanced nickel superalloys that will help bring advanced ultrasupercritical (AUSC) power plant technology to the level of readiness for commercial-scale demonstration.


Conventional coal-fired power plants, which generate steam to drive a power generation turbine, operate with efficiencies varying from 32 to 42 percent, depending upon the age and design of the plant. AUSC power plants can potentially operate at temperatures and pressures higher than current state-of the-art coal-fired power plants—about 25 percent more efficient than the average U.S. coal-fired power plant fleet, and 10 percent more efficient than state-of-the-art coal-fired power plants. AUSC power plants would require less coal per megawatt-hour, resulting in lower emissions and lower fuel costs per megawatt.


Successful widespread use of AUSC technology requires fabrication of advanced nickel superalloys into large plant components; development of installation and repair methods for the nickel superalloy components; and sufficient testing and metallurgical analysis to support the final design of a commercial-scale AUSC demonstration plant.


Since the early 2000s, NETL has been working with a partnership to conduct AUSC research. This partnership consists of the Energy Industries of Ohio, the Electric Power Research Institute, and industry partners known as the AUSC Consortium. Together, they have done research to the point that the fabrication of AUSC nickel components is ready to be built at full commercial scale—the last stage of research and development before a commercial-scale demonstration of AUSC power plant technology can be implemented.


Private-sector partners involved in the current phase of the AUSC project include Energy Industries of Ohio, Electric Power Research Institute, ALSTOM Power Division of General Electric, Riley Power, MetalTek, Special Metals, and AECOM


Subject Classifications

Industries and Applications | Fossil Fuel Power

Materials Properties and Performance | Corrosion

Materials Properties and Performance | Thermal Properties

Metals and Alloys | Superalloys, Nickel, and Cobalt

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